As an indie game developer, character designer, and animator, I was happy when I discovered Moho. But coming from an Adobe background, getting around Moho wasn’t easy for me in the beginning. However, after using the program for awhile, I figured out how to do things, and how to improve my work — and my workflow.
That said, here are some tips and tricks I’d like to share:
1) Changing the default project on launch
When you first launch Moho, a sample project loads. If you want to change this behavior, this is how you do it:
Open the Moho Preferences (Moho > Preferences), and select the General tab. From there, choose the Startup file that you want. Options include:
• Default Startup
• Empty Document
• No Document
• Last Saved Document
• Other File…
Note: Sometimes the preferences aren’t always saved. If you run into this problem, one way to fix things is to change one tab at a time, instead of changing everything all at once.
2) Highlighting frame zero
In Moho, all of the drawing — including adding shapes and bones — should be done on frame zero. When you’re on frame zero, you’re in Moho’s creation mode. Any other frame is considered part of the animation timeline. That doesn’t mean you can’t draw on other frames — there are times when that may be necessary. However, it’s important to know which frame you’re on at all times. Luckily, Moho gives you an option to help with that.
Inside the Moho Preferences (Moho > Preferences), go to the Timeline tab. From there, turn on the option, Highlight frame 0. Now, whenever you’re on frame zero, you’ll see a red border around the stage.
Note: You may also set another option, which disables drawing when you’re on frame zero. This option is located in the Tools tab: Enable drawing tools only on frame 0.
3) Importing images for tracing
Importing images can be done a few different ways. But when you’re importing an image for tracing, it makes sense to import the image as a tracing image. When you import an image this way, you’ll be able to draw over the image.
To import a tracing image, select File > Import > Tracing Image… from the menu bar. Then, select the image you want to import.
Note: You can also toggle the image visibility (show/hide) using ⌘U ([Command-U]).
4) Use ⇧ ([Shift]) and ⌥ ([Alt/Option]) for controlled drawing
When you’re drawing a shape, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to constrain or draw the shape out from the center? Good news… you can!
If you hold down ⇧ ([shift]) while drawing your shape, its proportions will be constrained. Alternatively, if you hold down ⌥ ([alt/option]), it’ll draw out from the center. This comes in handy when you’re trying to line things up or make “perfect” shapes.
5) Cutting holes in other shapes
If you need to create a hole in one shape, use another shape. Here’s how you do it:
When you have the second shape (the hole) in the correct position, use the Delete Shape tool to delete the fills and borders for both shapes — the hole and the shape in which the hole will be placed. Once deleted, use the Create Shape tool to create the new shape. But first, you need to select the outside edge of the shape you want to keep; in effect, this will select both shapes. Then, hold down ⇧ ([shift]) and select the outside edge of the inner shape (the hole). Once selected, hit the delete key and then create the shape.
6) Selecting shapes on other layers
Coming from an Adobe background, I couldn’t quite figure out how to “automatically” select shapes from different layers. Eventually, I discovered how to do it:
Press and hold ⌥ ([alt/option]). Then, right-click on the shape you want to select. This will select the shape and switch to the proper layer.
7) Use layer masking to hide shapes
If you need to create pupils inside eyeballs, teeth inside mouths, or other elements in which parts of an object are hidden when they move outside of their “parent”, consider using masks.
To use a mask, create a group with multiple layers. Then, set the group’s Layer Masking property to Hide all.
From there, use the individual layers’ Layer Masking property to set how each layer reacts to the mask. Options are:
• Mask this layer
• Don't mask this layer
• + Add to mask
• + Add to mask, but keep invisible
• - Subtract from mask (this layer will be invisible)
• + Clear the mask, then add this layer to it
• + Clear the mask, then add this layer invisibly to it
8) Ordering shapes on a single layer
If you’re working on a single layer that has multiple shapes, sometimes it’s necessary to set their order.
To set the order of a shape, select the shape using the Select Shape tool, and then use the up and down arrows on the keyboard to move the shape forward and backward. Alternatively, you can hold ⇧ ([shift]) while pressing up or down to move to shape to the top or bottom, respectively.
Well that does it for now. These 8 Moho tips should help improve your workflow.
For those of you who are new Moho users, check out my free course on Day Of The Indie.
About the Author
Tammy Coron is an independent creative professional and the host of Roundabout: Creative Chaos. She’s also the co-founder of Day Of The Indie — a site for game designers, developers, and enthusiasts. To learn more about Tammy, visit her website at tammycoron.com.